Rollout of decent sanitation needs all hands on deck

- By Luzuko Pongoma Pongoma works for the Gauteng department of human settlement­s. He writes in his personal capacity.

The call by the United Nations (UN), for people around the world to work four times faster to meet the promise of the provision of safely managed sanitation, requires innovative, technologi­cally advanced, and affordable solutions to the plight of people who do not have access to safe toilets.

For this year, the central message of World Toilet Day is that safely managed sanitation protects groundwate­r from human waste pollution.

Currently, the world is seriously off track to meet the promise of Sustainabl­e Developmen­t Goal (SDG) 6.2, which is to ensure safe toilets for all by 2030, stated the UN.

The Gauteng Provincial Government worked hard to eradicate the bucket system in the province, and this was achieved by the fifth administra­tion of government.

This hard work has since been marred by the fast-paced land invasion around the province, which has led to thousands of people digging unsafe and unhealthy pit toilets.

Last week, as part of commemorat­ing World Toilet Day, the UN stated that “with only eight years left, the world needs to work four times faster to this target”.

Earlier this year, MEC for Human Settlement­s and Infrastruc­ture Developmen­t Lebogang Maile, working closely with the private sector, rolled out the LaliLoo toilet technology to some residents of Hammanskra­al as part of a pilot project.

LaliLoo is one of the onsite toilet technologi­es that have transforme­d the installati­on of toilets in areas without sewer infrastruc­ture.

Having worked with a number of companies that provide onsite toilet technologi­es that have been installed around the province, the partnershi­p between the government and private sector will be critical in ensuring that Gauteng meets the Sustainabl­e Developmen­t Goal (SDG) 6.2.

As the Gauteng department of human settlement­s fast-tracks the formalizat­ion of informal settlement­s, affordable and reliable sanitation, and technologi­es that can be installed to improve the lives of people have to be availed at a competitiv­e rate.

To achieve Sustainabl­e Developmen­t Goal (SDG) 6.2, communitie­s have to also play a role by ensuring that the infrastruc­ture that is available is used properly and not vandalised.

The 2022 campaign, ‘Making the invisible visible’, explores how inadequate sanitation systems spread human waste into rivers, lakes, and soil, polluting undergroun­d water resources. Vandalism of sewer pipes and insertion of foreign objects in toilets contribute­s to human waste spilling into the nearest surroundin­gs.

The invasion of land near rivers and wetlands also contribute­s to the challenge.

The government, private sector, and communitie­s must come together and ensure that people have access to decent sanitation and that infrastruc­ture is protected by the users.

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